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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 16, 2009 6:30am-7:45am EDT

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>> where the paved road ended. oh, my gosh, he said, they're busting somebody. as charlie was flying over the scene on the road, you saw a big helicopter come whopping over the hill with more ninja warriors. thomas told me at some point that he thought this was a chinook which is the big tandem rotor jobs. it seems very unlikely but that's what he says he saw. he could take -- they could take and hold an entire community with this much firepower. helicopter charlie spent spent a lot of time protecting applegate and he take kind to this scene and he was airborne not long after. what he told carlie a couple days after he started buzzing the chopper.
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he was buzzing all over it. he was under it, over it, he was flipping the guys off. he was holding the controls between his legs and do the double bird at them. he was laughing at them. he chased the helicopter back and saw them go over the mountain to medford. one of the residents of the little applegate looked a little bit like rod. at least in his coloring with his dark olive skin and his black hair. when he moseyed down to the mailboxes at the end of the road, agents leaped out of the bushes and threw him on the ground. and he had guns in his face by men in ski masks and explained with some difficulty there must be a mistake and he was pissed and he stopped at thomas' place and i think your friend rod is in some big trouble. the agents had difficulty finding the exact cabin that rod had been living in and stopped in a different cabin over the stream. they kicked in the door on a leading who was living.
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when they asked about rod she pointed out his abode deep in the creek side shadows. the agents came creeping through the woods guns drawn. by coincidence a potential new renter for the cabin was visiting at that moment [laughter] >> a guy from williams just kicking around inside the rough place to see if he might want to take it for the summer and when he walked eyes, men put the gun barrels to his eye. it was clear from the state of the cabin and the things that this guy told him that rod was long gone. when rod heard about how they had come for him in black jumpsuits with ski masks over their face with guns drawn. why would federal agents disguise themselves? there was no warrant for his arrest. flight, yes, but not violence. from his point of view, the whole thing wreaked and, of course, at this point he's working openly in santa monica
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at the sea shepherd office it was pretty easy to find him. but he was convinced from his point of view the whole thing reeked. in all likelihood they would have simply would have tackled but he would have been been home when the ninjas showed up they would have killed him. if they were going to come to kill rod coronado, then rod coronado would cease to exist. so at that point he slipped out of l.a. he flew to south dakota where his -- but the things he's been reading about they are all prominent in the lakota so he flew to south dakota and he had some kind of a connection there. of some folks who said they had a cabin for him. and he changed his name to martine rubio and he became a lakota for six months and this is how he then proceeded to live his life for the next like 2 1/2 years.
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bouncing from reservation to reservation, very often using the name martine. he had lots of fake ids that had those names on them. but he changed his name a lot and eventually he made his way down to the reservation down in tucson where he eventually was arrested where he changed his whole way of working. he stopped doing environmental work in this kind of way and he started working with indian youth taking them to environmental events like at mount graham where they have giant controversies over giant telescopes over there. . they were with his tribe and the youth of his tribe and this is the arc that he had traveled. he was arrested in 1994 but when he went to his trial he was only tried for one fire that he set which was at michigan state in lansing, michigan.
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and even then they didn't have him setting the fire but for conspiracy. but even then he covered his tracks but unbeknownst to me and thousands of people following him. he had confessed everything but he had -- it had been sealed. the judge had sealed the confession and so no one could see it so i never learned about it until rod told me like five years later, so -- i'm going to bring us up-to-date to where we are now. because of rod and because of his actions, the terrorism laws changed. it wasn't all rodney but he figured in there. congress was pressured by a biomedical industry, big agribusiness, people who use animals in many ways to make money to write something called the animal enterprise protection act. now, there's a new one now but this is the original one. this is 1992. it's pretty toothless and as far as i know it's never been used
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but the thing it did it created a crime of domestic terrorism for property destruction. and that was a huge change because as i mentioned before, earlier, up to that point terrorism was harming people. and now terrorism could be harming property. they never used it against rodney even though it was partly written to catch people like him and to catch him specifically. there was a number of other laws written but after 9/11 there was a couple -- there's two or three lines of code written into the patriot act that specifically loop in environmental people as candidates for domestic terrorism charges. and that one had teeth. and one of the things that it could do was it could give you a sentence -- a terrorism sentencing enhancement for things that weren't even terrorism. so if you weren't convicted of a crime that was technically terrorism but you were convicted
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of a federal crime of violence that was politically motivated or was meant to coerce a decision out of somebody, even if it was a private business get a terrorism sentencing enhancement because of the crime and it could give you 20 years. so if you were convicted of something that was a felony that you got one year for, you could get 21 years because the judge -- it was at the judge's discretion to arbitrarily throw this thing on you. that had some affect right away. fueled by all sorts of counterterrorism dollars that started flowing in 2002, they started -- federal agents started fanning out through the entire radical environmental and animal rights movement looking for this kind of stuff, and they were not very successful for years and years until they found
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one fellow, i'm totally for getting his name -- jake. >> who was a junkie and who got in trouble and federal agents said we know what you had. we'll trade you your drug trouble for wearing a wiring and he brought down a zillion people. and it was a massive investigation. it happened -- it was central around eugene, oregon, but it was spread all over the pacific-northwest. several dozen people involved. many of them were hit with charges that were -- potential sentences that were so huge now post patriot act and post terrorism sentencing enhancement that it just caused a gigantic snitchfest and they just rolled on anybody they could roll on to cut a deal because they were facing sentences like -- two of the people who were lookouts in one crime faced a charge of life plus 1,115 years. when you're looking at that, you're looking to make a deal. and everybody made deals. there were several who didn't,
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however, one of them was jonathan paul and went -- and carved separate deals -- you know, noncompliance deals for themselves. noncooperation deals without giving up information on people but it was pretty gruesome, overall. it was a 60-count indictment over a whole bunch of people. that showed that -- the big change in that case was they were convicted and then it went to this judge, judge aiken who figured out if they were going to use the terrorism act and she decided to use it and at that point sort of the rules changed for everything and a big chill went out throughout the whole movement. the last piece of -- sort of terrorism laws is in 2006,
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congress finally put some teeth into this thing that they had passed in 1992, and they changed the name of it and they called it the animal enterprise act and quickly used it against some activists in new jersey. i know we've been running long here but i want to talk a teeny bit what happened with that and what happened with rod. there was one group in new jersey called shack stop animal huntington animal cruelty who was involved in multidimensional activism of all types put main thing they did they had a website and the website had the names and addresses of the executives from a company called huntington life science who use animal testing. some used to harass some of those executives and one of them, in fact, even a pipe bomb
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was left at their house. i'm not sure if that exploded or didn't explode but it's immaterial -- they went after the people on the website and they creamed them all. they got sentences as much as six years and they got terrorism sentences and one of them was sent to a unit in a federal unit that is built for terrorists for building a website. so right away there's these first amendment problems here. so suddenly do you really want to have your website out there because there may be some person who says, i saw on dean's website that i could make a bomb and go to somebody's house. you know, and then they trace it back to dean. the other thing that said which is why i started writing this book was in 2007 -- well, no,
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let me backtrack. rod made a speech, a pretty normal routine speech in san diego. it was a public speech. the public was invited. there was like 100-some people and as usual there were also undercover agents there. and he doesn't pull any punches. he said i'm talking to the agents and i'm talking to everybody 'cause i know they were there. he was right they were there and they were out in the parking lot writing down everyone's license plate number. he gives his regular speech which talks about his life as native american and the operation bite back for what he had been in jail for. he constituent through the whole spiel but at the end of his speech somebody asked a question about -- basically, ask how did you make these incendiary and so he grabbed a jug of apple justice well, it's like this and
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he described it really quickly. years went by, nothing happened. but 2 1/2 years later they busted him for that speech saying that night he had taught everybody how to make an incendiary. there was a law that was put on the books that's only been used two times as far as i know, by dianne feinstein and joe biden that it makes it illegal thousand teach people bombs and they decided that speech broke that law but -- which only had -- i think the penalty was like two years or five years or something like that for breaking this law. but the key piece was that the u.s. prosecutor came to rod's lawyer and said we can give him the terrorism enhancement for this and we can give him 18 years. and so they immediately started fighting it. and he beat basically. he got a hung jury. they basically didn't buy it that -- it was a first amendment case. they basically had to buy that it was indictment. they didn't buy it.
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it was hung 11 to 1 but the prosecutors came back to him and we have a whole bunch of other speeches on your tape and we can keep doing this so he took a plea because he had little kids now because he didn't want to be in jail. and he just got out and now he lives in grand rapids, michigan, with his son who lives there and the daughter of his wife, whom he recently married. so he's trying to put their family together and they're making it as difficult as possible and i think -- we both feel the book is playing spokeswoman. that they can't really punish -- i shouldn't say that. they can't really punish me for doing a book but hmmm! maybe they can but they're definitely punishing him for it. they're going after him for putting out believe information and for talking to me and for helping to make this book happen even though i'm the one who wrote it. so with that, i think i'm going
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to stop and field questions from anybody who may have. if you don't feel like walking up there. tell me the question and i'll resay the question evidently you can't hear it on television. >> i want to ask you a little bit about the term "terrorist." i understand how it's being used and from 9/11 to the bush administration to the patriot act, et cetera, but do you feel that it gives more weight and more value to that term by you using it to describe a rod coronado or a myriad of other terms? >> in my book i don't use them. i don't describe them that way. i say this is a book about terrorism because that's the subject matter but i don't call them terrorists. basically the book is an argument that they're not. you're absolutely right that the
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definition of it and the use of it is widening. by all sorts of different means because the word allows them to do things. it's potent. it allows you to use extraordinary measures to catch people and put them in extraordinary jails and all this extra action you can bring to this and just because of the word. one of the things that i just wrote about recently in the "l.a. times" that these secretive prison units that are made for terrorists, the people in there -- some of them have been connected. john walker lind was connected with them. but a lot of them have very fuzzy connections to like making one phone call to a guy that was a known operative of somebody in pakistan, and then they got that person and they'd end up in this special unit for terrorists.
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pulling all those people in there and expanding it out and constantly expanding like who was called a terrorist is -- gives the, you know, the federal government power and also gives them budget and gives them all kinds of nifty things that you can get because you need to fight terrorism. so, yeah, it's disconcerting that's expanding but it's continuing even under the obama administration, it's continuing to expand. good question. anybody else? >> i'm just curious, given your long history on reporting of activism do you think people -- is there anyone here checking your license plate and that sort of stuff? do you feel like you're being surveilled? >> sorry. >> buy the book, are we on a
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list here? are you paranoid. >> they must be and i call them and writing a book. i'm rod a book about rod coronado can i ask them and they say. they aren't the ones i want and they are not the ones i want to say but there's a file there somewhere and one day i'll get it. >> i mean, why that should -- theoretically the liberal, you know, academics would be -- >> no, they do the research. so, you know, rod would probably agree with that in terms of this is where, you know, there was some sympathy for the things that he believed, maybe not the things he did. but his belief system for sure. but there's also the professors there -- oftentimes the research that's done on animals for animals' sake like feeding and
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nutrition and so forth is mixed in with research that's done for humans. all the guys that they also were doing experiments with deafness that they thought could be applicable for humans or genetic diseases that they thought could be applicable to humans. and i talked to all the guys and the researchers that were hit and they look at themselves as doing good work, of course. they seem like totally nice reasonable people and that kind of thing and they, you know -- most of them say i'm not happy about the fact that some of the animals die. but would you rather have that or not have a cure for aids? that's usually the way that discussion goes. [inaudible] >> after doing all the research on the animal rights movement how do you feel the tactics rod did use even though you don't
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label it terrorism is it something important to be done? and by the way, in terms of liberals, i don't think the animal rights movement -- most liberals don't really get the animals rights movement. so liberal doesn't mean you're for the animal at all. you have to be really, really liberal i think it's another thing. so, yeah -- >> in terms of being -- in terms of the actual tactics, one of the thing i mention in the book like the whaling boat attack, it's almost damned bit fact that it's so incredibly effective. it shut down the whaling for that period of time but as long as it took to refloat the boats out there it didn't kill any whales. but long term, i'm not sure about the effectiveness because -- and, you know, in
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rod's thinking about that, too. you know, a lot of the people -- for instance, one of the actions they did was with some coyotes at the university of utah. they let a bunch of the coyotes and rod was very emotional about it and he felt the coyotes were talking to him and they knew what was going on and they really needed to get out. and they ran around the yard and stuff and fought each other and tore up and they had to be patched up. it was really -- it's just kind of a mess. obviously, that's kind of the second thought. first let them out and let's figure out what happens with them. the effectiveness -- i don't know. it's a question. i'm not sure that i totally believe that some of the actions are effective. but press-wise and even the university people who are hit say this, if you want to get attention to this issue, they were totally successful because
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press-wise, people like me paid attention. press-wise, i wrote all about the radical environmental movement through the whole half of the '90s because paul watson is bumping into ships and he's still doing it. and now he's got to be probably the most effective environmentalist in the planet because whale wars is extremely popular and he's out there with corporate sponsorship. so in terms of does it -- there's a good example. on the small individual action like trying to stop one particular researcher from doing his thing with me, maybe not. but in the grand scheme of things is somebody like paul watson effective? maybe. because he might shut down whaling. the japanese might say it's not worth it anymore. the whole world has turned against us because of this tv show, and i'm hearing rumblings
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that iceland has a new prime minister who's thinking about not whaling anymore and paul watson would be a big part of that, for sure. that's a good discussion and argument. but i'm not totally settled yet on what's effective and what's not. i think it's kind of case by case. >> i'm just thinking about what you said about paul watson is a huge product of getting whaling shut down. but he's been doing that for a long time. it would seem to me that animal planet would have an awful lot to do with it if paul watson -- if whaling gets shut down.
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i'm just wondering in your opinion how much of a role could the media play in changing things like the way animals are treated, whaling, biomedical research. and thank you doing for what you have done and i'm just wondering how things perhaps could be going that way? >> they could. somebody had to take a chance to do a show with paul. that was a big deal. they wouldn't do it for a long, long time. he told one of my friends who's a publicist that he wanted to do believe since the early 1980s. when mtv came out with the real world paul at that point said i want a reality show. and it took this long for somebody to actually say, yes, let's go do that because it was really -- you couldn't sell it to anybody. those things change over time and maybe they're changing now. there used to be a lot more -- one of the reasons they upped a lot of these laws and made
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things more difficult in terms of, you know, calling things terrorism is because there used to be a lot more investigative journalism where people would go undercover or go in the slaughterhouse and do the whole sinclair lewis thing and get images from places. you know, we're not seeing that much of it right now. the whole thing kind of went a little bit out of favor. i don't know. maybe budget. [inaudible] >> it's still happening. when there's -- it still happens but i have the impression that there was more of it at a certain point. now there's not as much of it but maybe something like a whale wars creates space for other things. you know that every producer in town is now saying, whale wars worked. what else could we do? [inaudible]
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>> right, right, right, right. it could crack something wide open where they start doing a lot of this kind of material. but just plain old jacque cousteau has been doing that. guys running around in zodiacs. and all, you know, the atten boro stuff like planet earth and stuff that has to do with animal shows, it definitely feeds into this into all of this. kids bro up with this stuff and they don't anything happening to those animals. that's a very powerful tool. >> if terrorism laws and patriot act are -- [inaudible]
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>> no. she was asking was to whether or not there is sort of an active movement amongst environmentalists and people ìc% after and change them. and no, there hasn't been. i can't say in the book that i'm openly advocating saying like this is the laws that need to be changed but these are the laws that need to be changed. it's a program that somebody needs to pick up and when things -- when they get really extreme, even the mainstream groups like the humane society weigh in. there were things they tried to write in the animal terrorism act and the humane society who doesn't want any part of this. that's too far. you got to cut him back. like, for instance, they had to try tie in boycotts. well, you know, the humane society jumped in there and
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said, when ben and jerry's do that, we'll boycott them. they had to soften that language. but where's everybody else? like everybody should be piling in there and say, the whole thing is bad language. you know, they are not going to pick out any one particular group because i don't know the details of who has weighed in and who hasn't. these laws are kind of sailing through without too many people jumping through saying, no, no we've got to not increase the word, "terrorism." it should be people are going in there to trying to cut these laws back, trim them back. [inaudible] >> not that i know of. the aclu did jump in with the cmu prison units. so finally that's starting to happen. and that's the aclu and the
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center of american rights. so finally that's getting some attention 'cause i think it just takes -- those units are two years old and it takes them a while to figure out how they're legally going to do the. and maybe if we're lucky it will happen with these laws. yes, please. [inaudible] >> it's not. but i don't know. they have power anyway. huntington life sciences or people who, you know, product-test using animals or biomedical firms in particular because the products that come out of some of that testing are so huge and profitable. they're very worried about not being able to use animals in their work. they have plenty of money and plenty of power beyond their
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corporate personhood to ram these laws through and they continue to ram them through. that's really, i think, where this one is playing out. anyone else? well, thank you all, i'm going to sign some books and drink some wine. thank you very much. i appreciate it. >> dean kuipers is an editor at the editor of "los angeles times." he's also author of "burning rainbow farm" for more information visit deankuipersonline.com.
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>> rick pearlstine, who lives in nixonland? >> in my book i say we all live in nixonland, the whole idea is that we have two mutually groups of americans who hate each other, left and right, red and blue. that one side barely considers the other side american at all. and a big part of barack obama's appeal or at least his attempted appeal was to transcend just that sort of thing. now, whether that will work or not is really the open question of his administration. i mean, he did, you know, pass a stimulus bill with zero
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republican votes and he's still being called socialist. so, you know, it's a way to think about our history going forward. are we still living in that radically bifurcated, mutual mode of recrimination that we saw evolve with richard nixon in the 1960s. >> so did -- how did it evolve during richard nixon and was he partially responsible in your view? >> well, he was both -- he didn't create the wave but he surfed the wave. as the '60s social movements became passionate and sometimes even violent, large swaths of white middle class america became very frightened that their normal expectations of law and order were being upended. and richard nixon kind of harvested that rage and he took political advantage of that rage and not only did he harvest it but he also exacerbated it as a
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political strategy. >> how? >> well, for example, he argued privately, although some of his aids said it publicly, that they wanted to achieve a strategy of positive polarization. in other words, it's good to have a political discourse that divides the country into two powerful their belief that the republicans would harvest the bigger side of the divide. so in other words, even though in much of his public rhetoric he would, you know, speak the words of unity that we expect our presidents to speak all the time, barely beneath the surface he encouraged the idea that one group of americans would believe another group of americans weren't quite american at all. one was the hippies and kids who want to tear down everything all us hard-working americans had built. >> was some of that rage in your
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view justified? >> oh, absolutely. >> why? >> well, i mean, a lot of -- a lot of what went on in the new left and the black power movement was churlish and narcissistic. and, you know, i tell a story in the book about abbie hoffman who was one of the prominent antiwar activists who comes from a yippie and i tell a story about how john lindsey had kind of made him sort of an ambassador between the city and the hippie community on the lower east side and part of that was he couldn't be arrested. abbie hoffman would take advantage of that and bait the cops. in one story i tell he actually so baited a cop to arrest him he smashed the display case in the precinct house that held the unit condemnations, just because he could.
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and we're talking about that level of childishness, that doesn't make it very easy for us to kind of body forth together as a commonwealth. it's when the rage became kind of undifferentiated and was directed at, say, senators who opposed the war like edmond muskie who nixon tried to tie to the, you know, the radical movement that things got very irresponsible. >> as a politician, do you respect richard nixon? >> he's the best. he wasn't, you know, quite good enough to, you know, bluff his way to two full terms but as far as his ability to find and discern the subterrainan moods broiling beneath the american life and speaking to those hopes
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and dreams, he was brilliant in thinking about what kind of constituency he could build for his politics and one of the ways in which he was such a brilliant politician and one of the evidences of it was he was not a very charming man. it's a paradox and he was a guy who people found to get along with. he didn't seem to enjoy people and yet he was still able to win the allegiance of millions of americans. >> now, this is your second book. your first is on barry goldwater and you're working on a third. why so fascinated with the right? >> the thing that fascinates me -- i'm an unapologetic liberal and a political activist and i'm proud that people on the right have found my work useful and fair. i'm fascinated by the enact we americans share our nation with each other even though we see the world in such different ways. and we speak the same language, english, you know, and we inhabit the same spaces.
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but we had just enough mutual comprehension that we can kind of be voyeuristic onto one another's worlds and i just find that endlessly fascinating. why do these people think differently than i do? what do i have in common? what don't i have in common. why do some people end up liberal or conservative? you know, i can sit in the library and close my eyes and think about that for hours and call it a good day. >> is america unique in that respect? >> i think that -- america is unique in that its ideological direction seems up for grabs this a lot of places. america is this country where we never had an american aristocracy. what binds us together is a set of ideas and we're always
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fighting over the ideas. you know, what does liberty mean. a new dealer argues liberty means, you know, having enough food in your stomach to be able to take care of your family. a conservative would say liberty means the government staying out of the private economy no matter what. and we're still having the same arguments with each other in almost 250 years into the experiment. >> has there ever been a time in your understanding of history, rick pearlstine, that america has been united? >> oh, well, always together and divided. they are the tensions with each other. i mean, we couldn't have defeated fascism in world war ii had we not achieved a remarkable degree of unity but by the same token a lot of that involved burying certain ways that we were disunited, say, around
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race, that quickly rose to the surface after world war ii in the 1950s as african-americans came back from world war ii who said we fought for our freedom. white settlers came back saying we fought for our way of life and suddenly we're at loggerheads. it's the american condition. >> what's the book you're working on and what's your trilogy called. >> well, i've called it the backlash trilogy. the first book was from '58 to '64. the second book goes from 1965 to '62. i have a book what i'm calling the invisible bridge which is about the 1970s and the rise of ronald reagan. it's going to cover the years from 1973 to 1980. >> we're here at the organization of american historians annual meeting and you participated on the panel of the conservative state of conservatism in america.
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why as a liberal are you so fascinated with conservatism? >> a lot of historians are riveted by conservatism and one of the reasons they had such a dominant role in governing the country certainly since, you know, 2001 we've had, you know -- until 2006, we had a conservative president and a conservative congress. we had two terms with ronald reagan. and, you know, that's kind of where the action is. i mean, it's the real exciting story in american political development. why did a country that seemed to be heading to a kind of permanent liberal consensus around the new deal ideas begin to lurch so aggressively to the right? and it's something that, you know, at this panel we were trying to -- you know, it's hard to figure. it's fascinating to figure. >> then as a political activist, is it important for you to understand the right? >> sure, sure. well, my way of understanding
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the right is very much based in empathy. and any political movement that hopes to capture a coalition that can achieve a majority, let alone a governing majority in america, which require 60% these days paw of the filibuster has to understand that the massive americans in the middle who, you know, don't necessarily share any political allegiance will -- that conservative ideas are attractive. and what is attractive about those ideas? why do they answer the people's normal aspirations? and without understanding that, you can't understand how to persuade people to the way of thinking politically that you find the greater good for the greater number which, you know, in my case would be the social democratic tradition, the new deal tradition. the idea that a strong government, central government, can deliver the most prosperity
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to the most people with liberty and individual autonomy. >> have you ever imagined interviewing richard nixon? >> oh, yeah. i couldn't ever outfox that guy. he was a chess master. he was four or five steps ahead of everyone else and, of course, the movie "frost/nixon" that came out was a rare moment which seems to let down his guard and seems to have been bested by this, you know, petty, you know, sort of low browed television host. i mean, the best way to defeat an enemy is to misdirect him by making him believe that you're not as strong as you really are. i don't know. i think david frost would be the better man on that one.
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>> rick pearlstein, author of nixonland. >> ray smock, what are you reading? >> i'm reading richard bernstein's the founding fathers reconsidered and it's a new book that's out. and richard is a wonderful writer who characterizes the founding fathers of this country and looks at them with a fresh eye and it's just a wonderful book. and another one that's closely related is also by richard beeman who has a new book on the constitutional convention and the men of the constitutional convention. so those are the two books i'm reading simultaneously right now. >> rick pearlstein, what are you reading? >> i'm reading the culture of nascarism by christopher lasch which came out in 1979.
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a surprise bestseller even though it was a very dense piece of intellectual implement take supposedly read by president carter. it informed a speech he gave in which he argued that america was suffering this crisis of confidence. and i'm reading it because i'm doing research on the 1970s for my next book. >> what are you learning from it? >> a lot about psychoanalysis and abject realist theater. it's a defense and difficult work. even though it was a bestseller i can't imagine too many people reading it. >> >> "new york times" reporter grew up in libya. he covered the middle east for the associated press and later was a "new york times" cairo au

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